Motorists on Interstate 80 in western Iowa may see even more towering windmills in the next few years.
MidAmerican Energy Co. announced plans Wednesday to add up to 656 new wind turbines by the end of 2015, as part of a $1.9 billion investment in additional wind generation capacity in Iowa. The turbines will generate 1,050 megawatts.
MidAmerican says the expansion will boost economic development and create more than $360 million in additional property tax revenue in the next three decades.
The utility says the expansion should help stabilize electric rates, providing a rate reduction totaling $10 million per year by 2017, commencing with a $3.3 million reduction in 2015.
The governor's office said many of the turbines are expected to be located in western Iowa. MidAmerican will not specify where they are going.
The announcement comes nearly two weeks after Facebook chose the Des Moines suburb of Altoona, Iowa, as the location for its new $300 million data center and Google announced a $400 million expansion of its data center operations in Council Bluffs.
Kearney, Neb., was in the running for the Facebook center. One of the reasons Facebook cited for picking Iowa was its use of wind energy.
“Iowa's leadership in the wind energy industry is a great selling point in the conversations we are having with these high-tech companies,” said Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad in a Des Moines news conference Wednesday afternoon. “They want to have a green portfolio.”
Contact the writer: